Tuesday, November 19, 2013

End of Year Resolutions

I'm against New Year's resolutions. I have no use for them. They make me shudder, just sitting here.

Why? Because a year is LONG, people. And I'm easily overwhelmed. When it comes to goals, I'm more of a sprinter than a marathoner. It's not that I don't continue with new habits I love, but projecting that far ahead floods my psyche with details and logistics and difficulties. Then comes the freak-out, which causes my ambition to jump ship. 

SO, for fellow sprinters, last year I happened across a strategy that worked. It was from the blog, Be More With Less, suggesting I get rid of 100 items before the end of the year. I got on board and felt good. Not only did the purging balance out the influx of gifts, but items we were tripping over went away. Less tripping over junk in the holiday season? Yes, please.

This year, my focus is a little different, but I'm still challenging myself to keep something up until the end of the year. Wanna know what it is?!

Going to bed by 10 pm. Ahhh! Sometimes I can't even believe I've set this goal, but Brian and I have SAID we need to go to bed earlier for years. He gets up really early every day, so he can run and work in his office before it's overrun with people. He's habitually tired and this concerns me. Taking the kids to school forces me out of bed before daylight as well, so my late nights needed to phase out. We've decided to do this together, since we're hopeless left to ourselves. 

Friday was our kick-off and we stayed up too late Saturday night (probably always will, since that's the night we hang out with friends). Sunday night Brian stayed up to watch a very important football game. I was watching too, til I fell asleep on the couch - which I'm counting. Both of us got to bed on time last night. It may seem spotty to you, but like I was saying, we've been hopeless up to this point so this is actually progress. 

While it's still too early to see big results, there's a peaceful feeling when you lay down, knowing you'll be there long enough to be refreshed. I can't count the times I've told my body, "Hurry up and sleep!" which I'm sure was effective. No more. Time to turn a new page. 

What one thing would drastically improve your quality of life? Or what one idea would you like to try on for a month and a half? Maybe it won't pan out or fit your lifestyle, but at least, when December's over, you can stop saying, "I should try that." Instead you can feel good about intentionally experimenting and move on to a new idea. Even good intentions, tucked away and nagging, can drag us down. Minimalism isn't just for stuff. 

You may be thinking, "Are you serious? This is the worst time you could suggest a resolution. I don't want to add anything to my plate this time of year!" It's true this time is hectic and I don't want to add to anyone's burden, but I have this crazy idea that our resolution will actually counteract all the craziness and limit it because if we can't get it done before 9:30 or 10, it has to wait. The problem with my old approach to the holidays is there IS no cut-off point. It all has to happen. I presume I will grapple with this an arbitrary cut off every day. No more shutting Target down at 11. No more staying up late to "catch up." But I want to learn to find rest when I choose to stop, not just when I consider myself finished. 

If you think you don't deserve rest until everything's finished, sit a minute with that idea and realize this: When have you ever been finished in a general way? I don't say this to depress you, although it used to depress me when Brian would point it out. I'm hoping you'll see it's okay to rest sooner. Even at 9:30. Or earlier if you have a migraine. When you have an option, and your body or your mind is screaming for a break, take it. Lord knows, there are times when we have to push through it, but WE decide if that's all the time.

For example, I've found myself lately without kids and my no-brainer reaction is to do every errand on my list. Why wouldn't I? It's so much easier - faster. Then I realize, there are things I'd like to do at home. I'd like to pick up clutter and read through the kids' school instructions - things that would help me feel peaceful. The drycleaner won't throw Brian's suit out if I don't pick it up today. Maybe I'll let a few errands wait and go home, where I really want to be. It's not choosing to give up "because I'll never finish anyway." It's choosing a better option. Once, I even stayed home so I could read the ending of a book without snapping at little people who were sure to interrupt me. I've been so finish-focused all these years, I'm surprised I have choices. I have options. If you haven't realized this before, I hope you do today. It's a whole new world. And a kinder one.


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